WASHINGTON, D.C. (WSAZ) -- U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) blasted Congress Tuesday over the federal government shutdown, calling it "unacceptable".
In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Manchin said, "I am embarrassed and ashamed of Congress and the unnecessary harm that is being inflicted on our citizens and country."
The federal government shut down at midnight Tuesday after Congress failed to agree on a continuing resolution to keep it funded. At issue is funding of the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare, which took effect Tuesday.
Here is Manchin's full statement:
“I am embarrassed and ashamed of Congress and the unnecessary harm that is being inflicted on our citizens and country. Shutting down the federal government is unacceptable. The voters sent us here to work together and fix problems, not engage in partisan fights to score cheap political points. Today, for the first time in seventeen years, our government is not open. The people of West Virginia rely on their government for essential services like mine safety inspection, Head Start, small business loans and veteran’s benefits, and today, instead of solving problems, we continue to fight.
While I continue to have strong concerns about the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the choices and costs that West Virginians will face, I believe there are aspects of the health care law that are important to West Virginia’s seniors, children, uninsured and those with pre-existing conditions. I believe that today, as the exchanges open, we will see first-hand which parts of the law need to be reformed, repaired or repealed as we did with the burdensome 1099 tax reporting requirements for businesses, and I will be the first one to work with my colleagues to do so. That being said, I do not believe we should hold our government hostage while we work through the health care law.
Health care for Americans is a serious issue, but I still believe that it should not be part of the budget negotiations that fund our government. The real problem is that we have refused to deal with our budget crisis in a responsible manner. For too long we have kicked the can down the road from one crisis to the next. It is time that Members got serious and start working towards commonsense solutions that will grow our economy and put Americans back to work. We must get our financial house in order.
Before we can even start fixing our nation’s many challenges, we first need to fund our government.”